This article is based on the AskReddit question “What fact did you learn too late in life?”
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
A person is not going to be defined by their relationship to you. Just because someone is your parent or partner etc, doesn’t mean that they’re going to be solely defined by this role, it’s important to recognize and attend to their needs outside of this relationship too.
Sometimes you’re only friends with someone because you see them 5 days a week.
That being ‘too cool’ for everything makes you a really boring person.
I did that in high school and college because it was safe. People trying and failing gets you laughed at, so don’t try. Don’t like things, because other people will hate you for it. Don’t care too much about something because others will laugh at you for it.
So I stayed cool and aloof and got to do all the laughing and mocking while other people made themselves look dumb…
… thereby forging friendships and relationships with people for better or worse and ultimately being interesting to be around, while I sit alone pretty much all the time thinking up sick burns and reasons why it was so much better to play it safe and not care about things.
You can try your hardest to not be a toxic person, but sometimes you still will be.
Apologize genuinely, and learn from it.
Not everyone is going to like you and you don’t have to change who you are for them, its much more important to like yourself as a person.
That if you do things for others without attaching an expectation to it…
You are going to have a MUCH easier time in life.
Find happiness in what you do. Enjoy the unexpected moments you receive, in return.
I learned too late in life that it is ok to cut out a toxic person from your life; EVEN if they are family. Even if it is your MOM. Not everyone will love you like you love them.
If you want a secret to be kept, don’t tell anyone.
Also if someone is constantly talking about other people behind their back then they definitely do the same to you.
That person who’s a jerk and makes people feel bad? Yeah, they think they’re being honest and upstanding calling other people out on hypocrisy or telling those people what they need to hear to be better.
That person who cuts people off in traffic or cuts in line? Yeah, they think they’re just avoiding people who are not paying attention so it doesn’t matter.
It also works both ways… just because you see it through your eyes doesn’t mean you’re not the Antagonist in everyone else’s lives.
Once you’re an adult, no one cares what your marks were in high school or college, don’t be a slacker but don’t be obsessed about grades either, have a life outside of school.
Like it or not, life is about making decisions.
If you take too long to decide, or just passively decide to stay in a state of indecision, decisions will be made for you — for better or worse, usually worse.
The more time you spend despairing over things that didn’t go the way you wanted them to in the past, the more opportunities you miss to make the connections for a meaningful future.
That little twinge inside you that tells you that your boss/friend(s)/person you’re dating just doesn’t really like you that much isn’t a sign that you should work harder to get them to like you more. It’s a sign you are with the wrong person/people.
I was 12 with two of my friends, one of whom is of Jewish decent. My other friend and I were teasing him for being circumcised. It turned out I am also circumcised because circumcision apparently doesn’t involve cutting the whole penis head off.
Either find what makes you happy and do it, or find a way to make what you do make you happy. Both ways are fine. You want to be a fire-juggler? Do it! You work a soul-crushing, minimum-wage, service job? Awesome! You have a paying job that helps people. Make your customers happy. Use that job to move up the corporate ladder or bounce off to a different job.
Happiness is a point of view and a series of choices. Not something bestowed on you.
I’m only 20 but oh boy, did I make myself feel miserable throughout my teenage years because I thought I was unworhy of love and kept putting even the mailman’s feelings before mine.
You struggle, get upset, cry, suffer heartbreak after heartbreak and watch loved ones die, but everything will be okay. Everybody goes through this, everybody hurts (sometimes), but things will be fine, and things without a doubt, could always be worse.
The world is not the professional, organized and efficient machine that you were taught it is. Everything is so poorly organized and help together with string and tape. Nobody is going to care about anything you do and you can pretty much shoehorn yourself into anything you want if you give it enough effort.
When I got my first big boy job, I realized that it really was just waking up in the morning, driving to a building where other underpaid, disgruntled and clueless people like me met up every day and just did stuff that might or might not have made our “company” more productive. Nobody really knows whats happening and everyone just goes along with it because thats what they think they have to do. If you mess up, even really badly, you will still be alive tomorrow and 99.99999999% of the population won’t have any idea that it even happened.
I was raised with the mentality of always studying and nothing else, heck I’m not even familiar with toys and TV shows and games. I thought if I studied harder and be successful later, I will find happiness.
But I have hit a brick wall; I failed a major, and become very depressed because I don’t know how to entertain myself. After being dismissed, it’s the time when I try living like what a normal kid do. Playing games, watching TV and Movies, lose myself in imaginations… Even if it’s unproductive, I’m quite content living like this until I decide I’m ready to return to social world.
When I was younger my mother told my sister and I that the zoo was closed in the winter so we wouldn’t ask to go in the middle of winter. Fast forward to my senior year of high school I was in a Behavioral Science class where the class would always go to the zoo to observe the chimpanzees and write a paper on them. My course was in the winter and so when my teacher told us we were going to the zoo I was confused at first and then realized my mother had lied to childhood me. I will never let her live that down.
It feels like a waste of time and energy to attempt to maintain a relationship with someone who might not want anything to do with you. Also, depending on what a person has done to you, don’t give them a second chance. Not everyone deserves one.
Alcohol will absolutely ruin your life, and the lives of the people you love most, if you don’t fucking be careful. You start out as a frat boy, and before you know it, you’re drinking every night after you get home from your first job out of college.
Then the hangovers get pretty bad, so you start to have a beer in the morning to level off. Then, well,…I won’t go on. For the love of God be careful.
I learned way too late in life how to love myself and how to accept my self for who I am. I always used to hate the way I looked, the way I interacted, how I get social anxiety in certain settings… just everything about myself. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I began the process of accepting myself as the being I am and slowly through the process of acceptance, I grew to like and eventually love myself. Since then, my life has been drastically different. The way I perceive the world and people around me has shifted in ways I can’t put into words. I was once a dark cloud of emotion, but recently I have become a bendable light shining around corners.
It changes a lot faster as you get older and gain more confidence/skills, as well as power and freedom and autonomy.
I used to sit around just waiting for life to happen. I blew my money on buying way too much stuff – like books – which I wouldn’t really use because I was “waiting”. Because I assumed the rest of my life would be lonely. So I didn’t read or watch TV or do anything productive. Just waited. There would always be more unwanted life.
When I felt lonely as a kid, I had to wait for school the next day or get on a forum. Now I can go to a bar or a meet up or a concert or join a sport or the gym or sit on campus (if a student). Life just happens faster.
Now I make my life happen. and I’m a lot happier for it.
I was taught my grades were meaningless trophies and that the only way anyone makes money is by doing something evil or illegal. Now that I’m an adult, I see this is pretty much very wrong. The STEM majors are now working good jobs and some of them have investments that are paying off. The kids who sold drugs in high school still live with their parents and get high all day.
Stuff doesn’t just happen, you have to make it happen. There’ll never be this perfect situation created by some insane coincidence that will allow you to have the opportunity to talk to this person and to connect with them. You have to make those perfect situations happen. You’ll never be locked in an elevator with your crush. You’ll never be assigned to a project with this person who shares your interests and might potentially be your new best friend. Your dream job won’t fall into your lap. You’ll never hear a friend say ‘hey, our archaeologist got sick unexpectedly and we need someone to cover for him. I know that you have no experience, no knowledge of the subject and even no skills required. But it was your dream job since you were 5. So do you want to come?
How to eat properly and take care of my body.
I was brought up with no restrictions or education of food and had a poor diet of mainly processed foods. My Mother had very little money and simply didn’t understand things like calories, portion control etc. So it was a lot of microwave meals and cheap treats and the only exercise I had was a weekly PE lesson in school which I always tried to get out of.
By the time I was in my teens and I was very overweight and unfit.
It wasn’t until I got my first job at 18 and meeting my colleagues who all live very active and healthy lives that I started to learn. They do stuff like triathlons for fun. It was completely alien to me!
I eventually asked to join the gym with them. That was a few years ago now and I’ve learnt so much and lost 70lbs, with about another 20 to go.
I’m forever grateful for their help and guidance but I bitterly regret living my childhood/teens the way I did, I will always be body conscious and have done irreversible damage to my body (saggy skin, stretch marks etc).
I want to preface by saying: not every employer, boss, manager…etc etc is out to get you – they, like you, are just a person doing their job to the best of their knowledge/ability. A lot of “Managers” (at least in my experience) just ended up in that position: with no prior experience, skills or education. So if you ever find yourself saying “that manager is an idiot” …well, there you go.
Another “employment lesson”: Never take anyone’s word if they promise you something (promotion, pay raise, etc etc) unless you get it in writing.
Finally…your employer doesn’t owe you shit…much like you don’t owe them shit. When things don’t turn out well, find a new gig. It could take months to even years (took me 2 years to get out of my old job…). Decide what your career goals are for yourself and decide what each job/role you take on fits into that goal. Right now, I’m in the second rung of my career for a good paying job but it came with a pretty dismal work environment (severely behind the times with processes…literately doing things by hand, that could be done by software..things that could take 5-10 minutes, take 2-3 days to compile/complete)…
Anyway, its not to be a grim picture of the working world, but it is a realistic view into it. Work to Live, Don’t Live to Work.
People older than you are still fumbling through life and still feel like a kid inside much of the time. Thirty, forty, fifty…eighty…doesn’t matter.
If you’re in a good relationship and love the person who says they love you right back; they can still break your heart at a moment’s notice. Doesn’t matter how much you’re in love with someone, or how much you feel that love is reciprocated, you never know what they truly think or feel about you, and you may just get a 4 sentence text one day and that’s it…
Seems really obvious now – but I was raised to believe that technical skills and “getting it done yourself” at all costs was what mattered. Recently realized that will only get you so far.
“The ability to deal with people is as purchasable as commodity as sugar or coffee. And I will pay more for that ability than any other under the sun”.
Your parents are not perfect. They have made plenty of mistakes. At the same time, don’t just think they’re idiots. Because the same mistakes they’ve made, you will most likely make as well.